If you study abroad

You can get financial aid abroad in the following situations:

  • You are completing a course of study abroad.
  • A period of study or job training abroad is part of a course of study you are completing in Finland.

Completing an entire course of study abroad

The study programme must be full-time and comparable with a course of study in Finland that would qualify you for financial aid.

Further, the educational institution must be supervised by public authorities. This means that it is subsidised by the state, supervised by the educational authorities or accredited by an accreditation agency. Also a private educational institution can be supervised by public authorities.

You cannot get financial aid in the following situations:

  • You are pursuing studies entirely through distance learning.
  • You are attending a programme preparing you for university study.
  • You are completing an individual course.
  • You participate in a language course.
  • You have not been granted the right to study towards a degree by your educational institution.
  • Your educational institution is a registered company.
  • You get financial aid from abroad.

Check what kinds of study you can get financial aid for.

Finnish nationals

If you are a Finnish national you can get financial aid for foreign study

  • provided that you have had a municipality of residence in Finland for at least 2 years out of the 5 years preceding the beginning of study. This means that you begin your course of study less than 3 years after you moved abroad, or
  • provided that, on the basis of your living circumstances, you have close ties to Finland, in which case your family relations, livelihood, occupational and other corresponding circumstances will be taken into consideration.

Foreign nationals

If you are not a Finnish national, you cannot usually get financial aid for a course of study completed entirely abroad.

However, if you are the family member of a national of an EU/EEA country or of Switzerland, you may get financial aid

  • if you have had a municipality of residence in Finland for at least 2 years out of the 5 years preceding the beginning of study, or
  • provided that, on the basis of your living circumstances, you have close ties to Finland, in which case your family relations, livelihood, occupational and other corresponding circumstances will be taken into consideration, and
  • you have the right to live in Finland permanently under chapter 10 of the Aliens Act, or you are an employee or a family member within the meaning of Regulation No. 492/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

Additional requirements:

  • If you are the family member of a Finnish national (regardless of your own nationality), you can get financial aid only if the Finnish national in question has made use of his or her right of free movement within the EU. In other words the Finnish national must have lived in another EU country and moved back to Finland, with you as the family member moving with or joining him or her afterwards.
  • If you are an employee within the meaning of the EU provisions, your course of study must be closely related to work you perform in Finland, or you must have become unemployed in Finland through no fault of your own. As an employee you can only get financial aid for vocational study for example in an institute of vocational education, for degree-oriented study in a university, or for the attainment of basic or advanced vocational qualifications.
  • If you are the family member of someone who is an employee within the meaning of the EU provisions, you can get financial aid for all types of education covered under the same conditions as Finnish nationals, as long as your legal guardian retains employee status in Finland.

Completing part of a degree abroad

You can get financial aid abroad if your course of study or period of job training abroad is a recognised part of a course of study you are completing in Finland. You can gain access to education or training abroad through an exchange programme or find it yourself.

If you live independently and get general housing allowance for your home in Finland, you can be paid the housing supplement when you begin a period of study abroad. In that case, payment of the general housing allowance for your home in Finland is stopped after a maximum of 3 months.

If you are in upper secondary school, you usually cannot get financial aid for a year as an exchange student or other period of study abroad because the studies are not recognised as part of the Finnish upper secondary school curriculum. However, financial aid may be available if you have a certificate from a Finnish upper secondary school stating that the foreign study is accepted as equivalent to at least 10 courses or 2 Matriculation Examination tests per term in a Finnish upper secondary school.

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